What’s your type?

September 16, 2017 | Claire Gavin, RMT
types of arthritisDid you know that there are over 100 different forms of arthritis and related diseases?   Registered Massage Therapists (RMTs) are trained to treat and understand many different types— enabling them to design the best treatment plan to meet your needs. The most common types are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. 

If you are not sure about your symptoms or type of arthritis, try the Arthritis Society’s Symptom Checker. This tool is designed to help you communicate more effectively with your health care provider about symptoms you may be experiencing.

Osteoarthritis (OA) is the breakdown of joint cartilage, which can cause pain and stiffness in the affected joints and soft tissue due to muscles, ligaments, and tendons that are offsetting the damaged joint. For people living with OA, therapeutic massage can provide short-term relief from pain, boost joint mobility, reduce swelling, and relieve stress and tension.

Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) is a progressive autoimmune disease that causes inflammation of the joints, pain and immobility. This serious condition can cause deformity, especially in the fingers, wrists, feet and ankles. For people living with RA, therapeutic massage helps to promote healthy circulation throughout the affected areas, which can help reduce swelling and make living with arthritis a little easier. Note that massaging affected joints is not recommended during a flare-up, so be sure to let your RMT know how you’re feeling at the start of each visit.

(See the Arthritis Society’s resources for more information on different types of arthritis.)

As always, it’s very important before a first appointment to make sure you communicate your needs on your health history form and to your RMT directly during your pre-treatment assessment.

Therapeutic massage can benefit many types of arthritis. Make certain your Registered Massage Therapist understands what type you have, in order to determine the best course of treatment for you. 


Claire Gavin is the RMT Development and Communications Manager at Massage Addict, Canada’s first and largest membership-based Massage Therapy company.